As a part of the heavy splattering of iPad news this week, we learn that Apple has approved an official Netflix app, which will allow subscribers to stream some movies and TV shows. This streaming technology isn't new to Netflix. You could stream some of its library on your computer through its website for some time now. Devices like Blu-ray players and gaming consoles have also began including applications that let you stream Netflix movies to your television. But this capability adds an important new dimension to the iPad.
For a device to best integrate into consumers' lives, it shouldn't cause a disruption to products or services they already enjoy. This can pose something of a problem for a creation like the iPad, which isn't quite a laptop and isn't quite a giant smart phone, but somewhere in between. It creates a new technological gadget category, which comes with lots of cool new capabilities. But a new species of device can also create headaches if it precludes users from taking advantage of what they already enjoy.
The iPod is an example of an innovation that integrates well with existing products and services. Apple provided music lovers a vast library to purchase tracks or albums for their iPod through the iTunes store, but it also allowed people to convert the CDs they already owned to play on the device. There was no negative disruption.